Who Am I? Exploring My Roots with Ancestry DNA

Today I'm getting a little personal and talking about my roots and discovering more about who I am. Growing up as a biracial child in the 80’s and 90’s in a super small area of Northern California where the was zero diversity,  I was almost always asked two questions, honestly to this day I get asked these questions. What are you? Insert Person staring at me curiously. Depending on the tone of the ask it can be offensive, but I get it people are naturally curious. One way I’ve learned to make it less awkward for myself is to ask the person, what do you think I am. I've heard some fascinating responses over the years!

The next question, Are you adopted? This question would mostly pop-up when friends would meet my mom for the first time, my mom is white and has dark hair and fair skin and burns very quickly in the sun and we look nothing alike, but she’s my mom. I can also remember getting starred at while shopping with my mom and sister when I was little, people always assuming I'm "the friend" my sister is white, we have the same mom and different fathers. My sister and mom look so much alike, I've always been on my own little island since I don't resemble my parents. 

While I grew up in a very undiverse area in California, being around my family always felt amazing and like a little United Nations, I have family members of every shade in the book. My Dad's side is very diverse, I have both white, African American, Mexican aunts and uncles. I love that. 

As I’ve gotten older and starting watching various TV Shows about finding your roots and discovering your ancestry, its intrigued me more to learn about my family. I’m a huge fan of Henry Louis Gates Jr. his show on PBS Finding Your Roots is so inspiring. His show is about sharing the Ancestry & DNA of his guests, many are famous Actors, Musicians, Artists, Writers and more and takes them on a journey going back hundreds and uncovering family information.

 I love all the history they uncover with the help of science and searching for public records always has me in aww.The show makes you laugh and cry, there's something amazing/informATIVE about learning where you came from and knowing all your family's struggles and what they went through. Gives me chills.

It’s made me very curious to learn about my DNA and Family tree on both sides. My parents aren’t ones to discuss much where their "people came from." 

Growing up when I discussed my heritage on my mom's side, her family is Irish and have a ‘very Irish’ last name. My mom's family is from Arkansas, and as far as she knows fought in the Civil War, unknown what side and pretty much have been in Arkansas for hundreds of years. My dad is African American, and his parents are from Arkansas too and moved out West to California in the 1940's or 1950's (its unkown). My dad's side remains the biggest mystery, our family roots lead us back to Africa, but where in Africa? My dad has also mentioned possibly having a Native American great, great, great, grandparents. Plus, I've always been curious was my mom’s family roots, are they really from Ireland? 

I ordered the Ancesrety.com DNA kit on a big sale they were having a few weeks ago. The process is doing your DNA testing is very simple, you give them a sample of your saliva and mail in your kit. About 6-8 weeks later I received an email stating my results are ready! The DNA results are incredible, and of course, I called my mom and dad to share with them what I discovered and totally had an Ah-Ha moment with my Dad! 


My Ethnicity | My Family Roots

My Ethnicity Estimate // I’m 22% Great Britain, 18% Ireland/Scotland/Wales, 17% Ivory Coast/Ghana, 11% Europe West (includes Belgium, France and Germany) 9% Cameroon/Congo, 6% Senegal under 5% - Benin/Togo, Scandinavian, Iberian Peninsula and the Middle East.  

The cool thing about Ancestrey.com it also shares the migration patterns of your ancestors! My moms family arrived in the 1700s eventually settling in the Missouri Ozarks and Tennessee. Today the area is comprised of the following states: Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. Very arcuate on my mom's side! 

On my dad's side, I’m able to tell dads family arrived from Africa as slaves in the 1850’s in Louisiana. According to my DNA, I am Southern Louisiana Creole on my Dads side. My dads family roots are concentrated in Southern Louisiana (heavy concentration in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans) If you heard the term Creole before, but not sure what it means here’s the definition, its honestly a very complicated word: The phrase Creole was initially used by French settlers to distinguish persons born in Louisiana from those born in the mother country (France/Belguim) or elsewhere. 

As in many other colonial societies around the world, Creole was a term used to mean those who were "native-born," especially native-born Europeans such as the French and Spanish. As time went on Creole, often implied people of mixed European and African (and occasionally Native American) descent. Which explains likely how I have 11% Europe West (France, Belgium & Germany) in my DNA. 

The Louisiana connection was a huge surprise! My Dad has never mentioned having family in Lousiana. I called my dad who’s a huge skeptic and told him the results. He said my Great Grandmother was Creole and from Louisiana! I had no idea! It’s was for sure my Aha moment and so exciting, I want to dig deeper on my Dad's side and learn more about his family and more about Lousiana. It was also cool learning more about my mom's side and seeing I'm 22% English (Is this why England felt like home when I visited?)  

Family Tree

What’s next? I would love for my parents and husband to do their DNA. My Dad seemed pretty impressed with the results. 

Having this information and learning more about where my family roots lead me has me wanting to create a Family Tree and uncovering information about my family. I want to dive into my Dad's side of the family and learning names and dates of my family members; I would love to trace them back as far as records allow. I even see a trip to Lousiana in my future and makes me wonder if this is why I always feel so connected to the book Cane River (one of Oprah's Book Club picks, it's a fantastic read!). I'm also excited to trace my mom's family tree and see this as something she and I would do together! Are you curious to uncover information about your family roots? Use This link to Save 15% Off on your Ancestry DNA Kit. 

Have you done your DNA Testing you? Where their any surprises in your results?